Sunday, July 30, 2006

Not What Was Expected, Or Was It?

One more day until this month has completed. Hard to believe that July is for all intents purposes, behind us. A part of the past, that we can not re-live again. Regardless of how we wish we could, we just can't. July 2006 is now for the history books.

It all started so innocently enough, like all months do. Expectations were running high in regards to the plans for this new month. Vacation would start in July, another birthday, and lazy days by the pool. But it wasn't to be.

Recall my first posting for the month of July?

I knew that was some kind of Omen. So it started off full of plans and dreams and then the ATM card was eaten and it all went down from there. The 4th went off without a hitch, another holiday a celebration of independence. Then July 7th, the day that will live in infamy. Then of course on the 10th, I got another day older and closer to retirement.

Quitting a job is not the worst thing one could do, but it is pretty close. But honestly, as I look back on it now, it was the best thing I've ever done. At least for my emotional and physical health. Now my financial health? That's another story.

But as I say, life is what we make it. I made a choice and now I have to make the best of it, and I am. I have some great opportunities that opened up to me this past weekend in the job front. I do not want to say anything that may jinx it, but let's just say I am excited about the opportunity. If things work out, we will be back on our feet in no time, and be making plans again for vacation.

Was July what I expected? In some ways it was more than I expected, in a good way. But in truth, it had to happen, whether it be July or January, some things are just inevitable.

So, Goodbye July 2006.
Hello August!

Saturday, July 29, 2006

Sweet Sixteen




My son J2 turned 16 today. Sweet Sixteen. It seems like just yesterday he was just a tiny baby struggling to breathe. J2 was born premature and had quite a few problems at birth, and had to take breathing treatments up until he was about 10 years old.

Today you would never think that this young boy had any problems.

We celebrated the day with a pool party at DJ's mother's house and a grill out. Silver and his son were there to share in the festivities. Thanks to Silver we were able to pull off a birthday party in grand style, and everyone had a great time. After the pool and dinner we came back to the house and played some D&D. Then went back for a midnight swim.

J2 said he had a great time and he enjoyed spending his birthday with his dad. As I looked at him today, almost a man, I was glad to spend the day with him as well. In a few years he will be out on his own making his own path. Hopefully he can look back on this, his 16th birthday and have good memories.

Thursday, July 27, 2006

Flashback

Ocassionaly I like to retreat into my memory vault and share with you on my blog something of my past. It could be the recent past, or way back there in my vault behind the spider webs and huge trunks. It gives you, my readers (all three of you) a little insight on my reality.

But for today's FLASHBACK, we will go back into my childhood. Which was at least 10 years back. Remember that first crush? How it felt every time you saw that person and how you became all fidgety inside? That's where I'm going today, back in time to my first crush.

Now let me remind you that this was in the mid to late 60's and I lived in Middle America, and I didn't even know what the word gay meant at the time, but all I knew was that I felt funny every time I was around this guy. And it was a good funny. (if you know what I mean) It was also the first time I realized that I was different than most of the other boys I knew.

His name was Sam. He was in my class and sat over by the door, next to where the pencil sharpener was bolted to the wall. Sam was everything I wasn't in 3rd grade. Cute, popular, with blue eyes and blonde hair. At recess he could do it all, play baseball, tether ball, and boy could he swing on those monkey bars. Every time he would walk past me I felt a quiver run through me. At first I didn't know what it was, but then I realized that I was thinking about him at home, and even during Christmas break. Of course when people asked if I had a girlfriend I would say, "Yeah, her name is Sam, short for Samantha"

Yes, even in third grade there was denial. But Sam was the shit! I watched him, I fantasized about him. I wanted to BE him! As the years progressed and my yearnings for Sam increased I would take classes that I knew he would be in, just so I could see him. In ninth grade he actually joined choir and his position on the risers was RIGHT NEXT TO ME! I remember that he smelled so good. But Sam never gave me the time of day. Sometimes he'd say "hey" but most of the time he'd just grunt.

But as fate would have it, we moved away my sophomore year and I lost contact with Sam. Never acting out on my urges to seduce him. But then a few years ago...

I came across a newspaper article in the local paper. It was a story about a father of three boys that was active in little league and how he coached all three of his sons from little league into high school and now one of his sons was being drafted by a major league baseball team.

You guessed it! That dad was none other than my Sam. And down at the bottom of the article was a picture of my beloved Sam.

Time was not good to Sam. He lost his thick golden hair, and it was replaced by skin, he was bald. His blue eyes were covered by very thick glasses, and his beautiful athletic physique had been taken over by McDonald's. He looked as though he weighed a good 250 lbs. Now, don't get me wrong, I'm not as shallow as all that, but this was my first crush. He was to stay young and beautiful for ever in my mind. But instead he aged like all of us.

And now, I look better than he does...
That's what he gets for never giving me the time of day back than.

Wednesday, July 26, 2006

Jobless, Babies & Gin Rummy

I know, long time since I posted last. I thought with me not working, that I'd be posting like mad, but alas, with no job I am finding that my life is quite boring. I mean there are just so many ways for me to rearrange the furniture and so many hours a person can stay on the computer. Thankfully DJ has been working at home most of this week, so at least I have someone here to keep me "entertained" And the only thing that has been interesting in the world this week was that Lance Bass finally told us all what we already knew. I just don't see how he got his boyfriend.

Anyway...

On the job front: Nothing as of yet. I have applied to numerous job postings online through Career Builder.com, but not hits as of yet. Next week I am going to start going out and hitting places here close to home to see what is out there. I'm getting into that depressed state of mind and I can not allow myself to do that, but with no money coming in and bills still piling up it is easy to get that way. Now this weekend my son J2 will be turning 16 and I do not have the funds to 1) do what he wanted to do for his birthday (go camping) 2) don't have the funds to even give him a gift. But thanks to DJ, Mama D and my best friend Silver we are going to at least have a pool party and a cook out on Saturday. I also suggested we could pitch the tent out in the back yard, so all will not be lost.

On the grand baby front: Rylan is growing by leaps and bounds. He is six weeks old today!I have also been able to see him at least once every week since he was born. I want to be part of my grandkids life, and I am going to do what it takes to make that happen. My grand-daughter (who is yet to be born) will be coming sometime within the next two weeks. I am excited for my daughter and her boyfriend, and I can't wait to see the next generation of Princess. At first the doctors thought she was going to have to be born cesarean, but she has turned and is now in position for a normal birth. Let's hope everything goes well and that is the case. I will keep you informed on Alana's arrival.

That is about it for now, DJ and I are going to play some gin rummy before bed. Gin rummy, I wonder if we have any real Gin or Rum?...

Sunday, July 23, 2006

Grand Dames














The picture on your left was taken about 15 years ago at a family wedding. The are from left to right; My Aunt Rhonda, Aunt Lois, Aunt Garnet, Aunt Patty and my mother.

The picture on the right was taken this afternoon at my daughter's baby shower. From left to right are; my mother, Aunt Patty, Aunt Garnet and Aunt Lois. They have changed a little in 15 years, but not too much. They will be my grand-daughter's great-grandmother and Great-Grand Aunts. All of these women look to young for those titles, but one thing is for certain they are some Grand Dames!

Are Your Neighbors Raccoons & Skunks?


For me there is nothing quite as relaxing than, late at night sitting around an open fire. For the last three nights DJ and I did just that. Sat at an open fire, talking, listening to music or just taking in the night sounds.

The camping trip was wonderful. Too bad it had to end and we had to return back to the real world. The first day upon arrival at the campgrounds it was HOT. Close to 98 degrees. We set up camp and then took a little walk. When we returned we had neighbors that moved into the campsite next to us. Two young couples. Both the guys were quite good looking (sorry no pictures, that would have been obvious!) and all four were quite nice. We took over some wood to them later that evening as they had run out. We also had other neighbors...Raccoons and skunks. Yes, they came right up into our camping area. Luckily we had placed all of our food items back in our automobile, so they didn't stay around long without any food to suffice their curiosity. But they came back each night looking for more.

The second night was a bit more uncomfortable, as after we decided to go to bed, it decided to storm. A real nice thunderstorm! With lots of rain, lightening and thunder. Making woo hoo in a thunderstorm is quite nice, but I would have preferred it to have remained dry during our camping excursion. We had some water in the tent, but nothing really bad. Of course our neighbors decided the next morning to leave, and they were nice enough to repay us for the wood we gave them the night before. But when they returned the wood, they said to DJ...

"we wanted to return the favor your DAD gave us some wood the other night..."

YOUR DAD!? Not quite. I know there are twenty years between DJ and I, but Dad? But DJ thought it was funny. I didn't.

The next night it was much dryer and much cooler, I had hoped we had that weather the entire time, but at least one night was perfect camping weather.

We returned home today, tired but relaxed. Back to the real world and the reality of having to find a job. Today we went to my daughter's baby shower, and visited with family. It was a good three days, but as always it good to be back home.

Wednesday, July 19, 2006

Gone Fishing!


I'm not really going fishing, I've done my fishing for this decade, but we are going on vacation.

Vacation, you ask? When your not even employed?

Why of course, just because we have no income coming in and we don't know how we are going to pay our bills doesn't mean we can not enjoy a vacation, right?
We are not going far, just over to Indiana to do some camping. No phones, no computers, no air condition, and most important...No people. Well other campers I'm sure, but you know what I mean. Going away so that we can not think about our dilemma.

Hey I have a grip on reality, I just choose not to face it this week. I'm on vacation!

Sunday, July 16, 2006

Reunions

Today was my family reunion on my father's side of my family. Most of those that attended were cousins of my father. In other words, most of them I had no idea who they were. But many of my aunts and uncles attended with their children and grandchildren. I of course had the pleasure to show off my new grandson and my very pregnant daughter. Many that attended could not believe that I was now a grandfather. (I have a hard time believing it myself)

Reunions are good to see people that you haven't seen in some time, and how that they have changed since you last saw them. Many that attended today I had not seen in over 15 years, and of course I didn't recognize many of them. It also makes you realize your age. As you look around the crowd you see those that you grew up with holding their grandchildren, and then you look around for their parents and realize that they are no longer there. Many of my dad's aunt's and uncles have died and now many of my father's generation are passing. Time stops for no one.

The day was good, even though it was 98 degrees outside today and the hottest day of the year so far. Of course I took pictures. Here is my favorite of the day, my four children, all together.

Wednesday, July 12, 2006

Where Do I Go From Here?


Today reality set in.
I realized that me walking out on my job last week was a major dumb ass, stupid, thoughtless act. Yes, I know I hated my job and it was affecting me physically and mentally to a point where something had to happen, But...

We still have rent that has to be paid, gas to put in our cars, insurance for the cars, electric bills, food, and last, but certainly not least, child support payments. What was I thinking? Did I think that the job fairy was just going to wave the magic wand and I'd get a job the next day making the same amount of money?

I went on CareerBuilder.com last night and there are over 21,000 jobs in a 30 mile area of my home that were posted online. They ranged from physicians to convenient store clerks. As I scanned through about 200 of them I realized that most of the jobs in the pay range that I require/desire are not an option for me. Either I am underqualified or I have no degree. The jobs that I am qualified for pay much less that what I was making. So what are my options?

Go back to school?
I can't afford to shit right now because we are low on toilet paper, so school is out of the question.

Take a lower paying job?
That is the most probable solution right now. We will just have to budget our money better.

Apply for the job I want regardless of my under-qualified status?
That I could do, and be continually humiliated and become depressed due to not getting it. Or I could take the risk and go for it, and see what happens. Who knows, maybe my age and prior work experience can count for something.

The thing is I should have thought about all of this before walking out.
But I've done much more stupid things than this and things have worked out.

But just in case, if any of you happen to see that job fairy, send her my way, would you?

Monday, July 10, 2006

Happy Birthday to Me!



It came up on me before I realized it this year, but I'm another day older today and deeper in debt....

I also found out that I share this birthday with several famous people, one of which being Arthur Ashe, whom I respected not just as a tennis player, but a role model for an entire country. He climbed the ladder of success in a sport that was to that point very discriminatory, but he held on. Then at the end of his career he suffered another battle with HIV, due to a transfusion during heart surgery. Again, he held his head up in diversity. He succumbed to the disease but in part due to his battle, tests were improved and many other lives have been saved.


Arlo Guthrie also shares this day with me, as his date of birth. As well as former baseball star Hal MacRae, and ironically so does Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn's son Wyatt Russell. Herman Munster (Fred Gwynne) was also born July 10, 1926. Boxing great Jake LaMotta would have been 85 years old today.

Another person that shares this birthday is Nick Lachey's ex-wife. Jessica Simpson. That answers a lot of questions...

But this brought a happy tear to my eye, thanks Silver.

Sunday, July 09, 2006

What a Week!

This past week has been some kind of week, let me tell you. The fireworks were not the the only thing exploding around here this past week.

Since we last posted, life here in my reality has become somewhat chaotic. On Wednesday I went to back to work after the one day holiday and it seemed as though things were going to be the same old shit. But actually it was a good day. The quiet before the storm.

Thursday I went into work and things were entirely differant. In an hour I had more customers, phone calls and unusual activity than I had ever had for the 6th of the month. Then at 11:00 a.m., one hour after arriving, I did it. I finally lost control, and threw the keys to Atilla the Hun and walked out. Quit. Left my only source of income.

Yeah, I know it has been coming for quite a long time, but I should have been more prepared, like had another job lined up before I walked. But I've been in this position before and I was able to make it out. This however was the first time of my own choosing.

Needless to say I was upset so DJ in his ever increasing love and compassion suggested we get away from everything and leave our phones and go hiking. So we loaed lunch into the car and headed to the park and hiked the rest of the afternoon. Friday was another experience all in it's own. I decided that I did not wasnt to spend the entire day home alone, as DJ had made plans already with his father and grandfather to go fishing. So instead of sitting home getting depressed, I went fishing with them!

Getting up at 5:30 a.m. is something I have not done in quite a long time. And it was the first time I've gotten up that early to go fishing of all things. I've fished before, but it's not something I would do on a regualr basis, or even a semi regular basis. We arrived at out fishing destination about 8 a.m. and we cast our poles into the lake and low and behold...

I caught the first fish of the day. Not that it mattered really, because by the end of the day we had caught 187 fish. I had quit fishing at 2:00 p.m., but they continued up until about 5:30 while I slept on the bank of the lake. In reality I really enjoyed the day, and it did keep my mind of the the problems at home.

So another chapter of my life is now completed and I am stepping into chapter 46. Monday is my birthday and I am not sure what I am going to do for a job, or how we are going to pay the bills, but I do know one thing. By walking out on Thursday, I have at least rescued what sanity I have left.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

Saturday, July 01, 2006

Aisle 3 Open With No Waiting

I had my entire day planned out for today. Sleeping in, fixing lunch for me and my boys. Then shopping for dinner, which was going to consist of grilled burgers, hotdogs, metts and brauts. With french fries and onion rings. I was going to have it all together and ready for consumption by the time DJ arrived home from work.

Everything was running according to schedule, and at 3:45 we headed off to the local Meijer for shopping. We picked up everything we needed, plus a few extras and headed to the trusty ATM to withdraw the necessary funds to make our purchase.


"INCORRECT PASSWORD TRY AGAIN" the screen reads after I punch in our PIN #. So I try again.

"INCORRECT PASSWORD, YOUR ATM CARD HAS BEEN COLLECTED FOR SECURITY PURPOSES, PLEASE CONTACT YOUR BANKING INSTITUTION."

Great, the ATM machine ate my ATM card. I have no cash on me, and left my cell phone at home. No problem I can go to a pay-phone. They do still have those don't they? I find a pay-phone and realize that I do not know DJ's cell number as it is in memory on my cell phone and I never really need to dial it. Okay no problem I will call him at home and leave a message. Which I do, twice.

No response, it is now 5:oo p.m. and my entire evening has been thwarted by the card eating ATM Machine. Finally I call home again and DJ answers. He just arrived home and had heard my frantic message and was now on his way to retrieve me, the boys and our dinner.

I hope this is no indication on how my entire month of July is going to be!